Can You Hack It?


Port Melbourne just got a ton cooler with the addition of a new craft beer pub.

Hack Brewing, who have been gypsy brewing since November last year, had been looking around for a venue of their own when they came across an old pub in Port Melbourne. Originally the Fountain Inn (complete with stables for the guests’ horses), the 1860-built establishment has cycled through a variety of guises over the past 150 years – The Drifter’s Alibi probably being the coolest name so far – and until recently was a function venue for weddings and parties.

Owner Chris Nicholls – part of the small team that makes up Hack – says that during their renovations over the past month or so, nearby residents have been poking their heads in, worried that the old building was being turned into apartments. “They were stoked to find that the historic building was going to be turned into a pub again,” he says.

Chris and his wife Nat have been pulling long hours at the venue, ripping out the old brown fixings, painting the walls, replacing the floorboards, upcycling tables and installing a bright blue neon sign on the back wall that proclaims “HACK”. The front bar will feature long wooden tables, while the back room will have more intimate booth seating and there will also be a cosy corner with couches. “I want it to be like a lounge room for the locals too,” says Chris.

Nat, who picked up handy skills while renovating their own house, has been pulling long days at the site to help turn the venue into a modern yet welcoming watering hole. They are keen for the pub to be a place for punters young and old to chill out and sample local craft beers, along with some tasty food.

And the food is pretty special. Hack have recruited talented chef Kevin Dick from Limp Brisket, who has installed a meat smoker the size of a small steam train engine in the kitchen to smoke a range of meats and even fruit and vegetarian options, including pulled jackfruit and pineapple.

Bar manager Alex, who has an impressive hospo background, will be behind the bar serving up a range of local brews – they are currently pouring beers including Holgate, Hawkers, CoConspirators, Kaiju, Edge, Boatrocker, and, of course, Hack. There is also a fun range of cocktails and wines for those looking for a non-beery beverage – including prosecco, espresso martinis and Pimm’s cup on tap.

The unique fitout has been created by Melbourne designers Pocketbeagles – the legends who design Froth magazine – who have added bright splashes of colour to the white, airy decor, as well as some awesome artwork hand-painted by head Beagle Clint Weaver. The result is fun, playful and inviting, with even a fake painted ‘fireplace’ welcoming visitors as they enter.

The Hack will open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. With a 3am licence, it will also operate as a late-night venue with a line-up of local DJs and acoustic bands. Sunday sessions will kick off at brunch with bottomless prosecco and Bloody Marys.

Just a short walk from the Palace Hotel in South Melbourne – and a 15-minute stroll (or four-minute car ride) from Colonial Brewery and Starward Distillery – Hack is also conveniently situated close to the 109 tram and the 234 bus.

The Hack opens tomorrow on Friday December 15 at 12pm.

Come on down and see what a bunch of hacks are capable of!

The Hack
1 Crockford St, Port Melbourne

The exterior of the 1860s-built pub that is now home to The Hack.
Chris and Nat Nicholls from Hack Brewing enjoy a cold beer after a hard day’s renovating.
Chris and Nat’s son Will, 3, has been enjoying “helping out” with the renovations.
Clint Weaver puts the finishing touches to the “fake fireplace”.
Nat ensures the lights are good to go for The Hack’s opening.
When we popped in the bar was almost finished – and the beer taps were already pouring.
Three-year-old Will watches Nat tile the bar.
Limp Brisket chef Kevin Dick inspects the meat (and pineapples!) in his smoker.
Clint Weaver and Malin Alfredsson from design outfit Pocketbeagles.
One of the artworks created by Clint Weaver from Pocket Beagles Design.
Clint Weaver has been adding colourful touches to the pub’s design.
The Hack is at 1 Crockford Street, Port Melbourne.
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